Missing teens survived in freezing woods

MEXICO, Maine (WPRI) — Two North Smithfield teens, who went missing in Maine on Monday, explained a harrowing tale of survival in the freezing woods.

Ty Howard-Gotto has frequently made the trip to his grandfather’s home, but he never expected this to happen to him and his friend Jonah.

“I know these trails like back of my hand,” said Howard-Gotto.

Ty is originally from Maine, but instead of taking his normal route to his grandfather’s he tried a different way.

“I came out here by Devils Den and instead of coming down the road, like I usually do, I took a loop and it brought me out by Red Brook Road,” he said.

What they didn’t expect was to get stuck on an unmaintained trail. Now stuck in the middle of nowhere, the two had their survival instincts kick in.

“I had a bag of clothes on me and I was trying to get a fire started,” said Howard-Gotto, “so I took a rag and my t-shirt and stuck it down the gas tank, tried to get some brush and I tried to start a fire.”

The attempt at a fire did not work too well, so without a cell phone between the two they began to walk.

The night was looming, temperatures dropped to -10 degrees and the boys were tired of walking through the snow.

“We sat down for 5, 10 minutes,” he said, “we started feeling our toes going numb, so we started moving around and started warming up a little bit.”

Eventually, they made it to a lake where they found a boarded up cabin. Ty broke the lock and inside found more gasoline and a go kart.

“We took some gas and kicked down a sign and started a fire up and we spent the night in the go kart,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Maine Warden Service and volunteers were searching for the 15-year-old boys with no luck.

By Tuesday morning, they awoke and walked at least 10 miles until finally they saw a pickup truck.

They were saved.

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